Dog run-free sanctuary in Portugal


The Monte dos Vagabundos is a 20ha hilly property in the Alentejo / Portugal, which I carefully selected to realise my dream: create a run-free sanctuary for animals in need. Mainly focusing on dogs (forgotten kennel dogs, old/sick, severe mistreatment cases, mid-term pension for other associations), but not only, as we have already committed to welcome horses and pigs saved from mistreatments and/or butcher :-)

Personal funds have been used to purchase the best 20-hectare land, and to fence it into 5 large areas (2km of fencing). The land is split into various areas, 2.2 hectares for horses, pigs and cabritos, 2 hectares of prickly pears plantation & glamping area, 2 hectares for me and my doggies, and 3 separate fencing of 1 hectare each for doggies in need.

We have built a few chalets for myself and my 10 dogs and friends/family/volunteers, and, the horse/pigs shelter is complete, and we have started to build the premises for the doggies.


The dog shelter (36m2), comprising of 2 'rooms' of 18m2 each, and 2 smaller individual boxes for quarantine. So all in all, we will be able to accommodate some 30 dogs :-). The shelter will be nice, dry and warm, and be used as a place to sleep at night or to hide during the rainy days but dogs will no doubt spend most of their time digging their nest in the 10'000m2 attached enclosed space under the  cork trees (and medronos!!).

The walls are 60cm of ciment blocks and the rest in wooden planks with sandwich iron pannel as roofing (well insulated). We will buy individual plastic beds & insulated pillow/blankets to make sure no one gets cold in winter and to have everything easily cleaned.

To finish building the shelter (the ciment slab is done and so is half of the ciment walls) I need you financial help to finilise it.Total cost of kennel alone (will then have a second phase with utility/volunteer room) will be of 6'900 Euros , as follows (all invoices available on request):

Sand/stones/ciment/iron/blocs 1400 Euros
Levelling : 200.- Euros
Roofing 20x 75.-  1500.- Euros
Wood planks 50m2 + pillars 800 Euros
20 beds/pillows  1000 Euros
Construction approx 2000 euros (will only know when this is complete)

TOTAL  6900 Euros

Once the shelter is complete, I can start welcoming doggies in need (some already waiting for months to come).

Portugal is a WONDERFUL country but animal abuse is huge. Despite lots is being tackled to make people accountable for their crime,  I personally believe that free STERILISATION is the only way to go to reduce the dogs population and municipality kennel's overpopulation, puppies dumped in garbage, and huge rate of abandonment. kennel huge problems of animal abuse, strays, abandonments, etc...

P.S. the Monte dos Vagabundos will be a fully official/registered association / animal rescue / dog shelter but Covid makes everything even more complicated and I decided to do everything simultaneously.


My name is Lucie. I am a Swiss national of 51, living in the southwest coast of Portugal with my 10 rescued African dogs.

The past 20 years of my life have been full of excitement and awesome experiences  (10 years of humanitarian and 10 years of building and running a guesthouse in northern Mozambique), but took the decision to come back to Europe 2.5 years ago, for a million of reasons, security being the major one. For anyone coming back from a long African stay, Portugal appeared as an evidence, for its climate, its people, its zenitude, security, and large spaces. I will never regret that choice; it is all 100% more than I expected.

New places, new challenges, Portugal’s one will be focusing on animal welfare, as a normal continuity to what I have done in the past and my unconditional love for dogs & co for quite a number of years. So, my 10 Mozambican dogs and I found the most wonderful place for a RUN-FREE ANIMAL SANCTUARY in the area of Odemira, and we moved in little wooden houses 2 months ago.


  • Christiane Meier 
    • €100 
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  • Petra Tanner 
    • €30 
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  • Sheena Geary 
    • €15 
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  • Simon Rattaz 
    • €50 
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Lucie Arm 
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